Locust swarms invade West Africa
5 July 2004, Rome - The first desert locust swarms have moved from their spring Northwest Africa to several Sahelian countries in West Africa, specifically Mauritania, Mali, FAO said today.
"Many more swarms are expected in these countries as well as in Niger and Chad in weeks," the UN agency warned.
As summer rains have already started in the Sahel, egg -laying is likely to occur within that stretches from the Atlantic coast in Mauritania to Chad. This could extend further western Sudan.
"A dramatic increase in locusts could threaten crop production during the coming said, calling for additional international assistance.
"Additional international aid is urgently needed to supplement the major efforts already particular by the countries concerned, and to prevent the situation from developing FAO said.
The current desert locust upsurge is the most serious since the last plague of 1987- 89.
Due to the size and number of the current locust infestations, effective control can only by conventional pesticides. More than 4 million hectares have been treated so far in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.
Monitor and control
Well-directed control measures and careful monitoring on the ground need to continue, emphasized.
All efforts should be made to use the most environmentally friendly products and spray equipment to minimize risks to the environment and human and animal health. encouraging field trials on the use of alternative products such as biological pesticides.
So far, $9 million of emergency assistance has been pledged. FAO has contributed from its own resources and donors have provided $7 million. In addition, each affected contributed substantially to the locust campaign.
To respond better to future emergencies, longer -term support is also needed to strengthen capacities in early warning, early reaction and research within FAO's Emergency for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES).
The costs of the last locust plague in 1987- 89 amounted to more than $300 million operations were carried out in 28 countries.
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